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PSYCHOLOGY: Evaluate Sources

CRAAP Test: Evaluate a single source

The CRAAP Test is a list of questions you can ask in order to determine if the information you have is reliable. Please keep in mind that the following list of questions is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

Currency: The timeliness of the information.
• When was the information published or posted?
• Has the information been revised or updated? 
• Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?
 
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
• Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question? 
• Who is the intended audience?
• Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
• Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
 
Authority:  The source of the information.
• Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
• Are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given?
• What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
 
Accuracy:  The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.
• Where does the information come from?
• Is the information supported by evidence? 
• Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
• Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
 
Purpose:  The reason the information exists.
• What is the purpose of the information?  to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
• Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
• Is there a clear political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal perspective present?

Is my source a scholarly work?

Is your source a scholarly work? Scholarly works offer transparency, making it relatively easy for readers to scrutinize their work. 

Reputation-Consider where the data or information is coming from.

  • Authorship: Who wrote the item? What are their credentials? Are they affiliated with any reputable institution?
  • Publisher: Is the publisher a scholarly press? What is their reputation? If you are unfamiliar with a publisher, investigate their website.
  • Review Process: Do items undergo any kind of formal review process? If so, how rigorous is this process? Who are involved in this review process, and how many are involved? What are their credentials and who are they affiliated with?

 

Content-How easily are readers able to scrutinize the author's work? Scholarly works can include research design and methodology to help readers assess the quality of information.

  • Language:  Does the item use language geared for experts in the field? If it uses language appropriate for general audiences it probably isn't scholarly.
  • References:  Scholars build from and add to the work of others. Scholarly items give proper honor and attribution by citing prior works.

 

Target-For whom is this item intended and why?

  • Audience:  Scholarly works are written by and for academics. Glossy magazines filled with color images and sold in grocery stores are meant for general audiences.
  • Intent:  Scholarly works are solely intended to enhance scholarship, adding to the body of knowledge in a particular field. The knowledge presented is expected to be objective. The presence of bias or the intent to persuade readers falls outside this stated purpose. That is why scholarly journals have minimal to no advertising.

How could I use this source?